December 8th, 2011
05:31 PM ET

2 dead, including police officer, after Virginia Tech shooting incident

A Virginia Tech police officer was among two people killed Thursday on the school's campus, prompting a sweeping search and school-wide lockdown that lasted over four hours.

Around 4:30 p.m., the school in Blacksburg, Virginia, announced on its Twitter feed that "law enforcement agencies have determined there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place. Resume normal activities."

Police said the incident started shortly after noon, when the police officer made a traffic stop in the Coliseum parking lot near McComas Hall. During that stop, a person who wasn't involved in the traffic stop approached and shot the officer, authorities said.

After witnesses told police that the shooter fled toward a nearby parking lot, an investigating officer saw a "suspicious person" alive in that lot. When the officer circled back to approach the person - described as a white male - that person was dead of a gunshot wound, police said.

A Virginia state police spokesman said that police didn't shoot the second person, and he wouldn't say whether the person was a suspect, or whether investigators still are looking for a shooter. But he said investigators feel "confident we located the person," and that "you can kind of read between the lines."

The incident comes more than four years after a shooting spree in which a Virginia Tech student, 23-year-old Cho Seung-Hui, shot dead 32 people on the campus before killing himself in April 2007.

The following are running updates on Thursday's incident:

[Updated 5:15 p.m. ET] The Virginia Tech police officer who was fatally shot during a traffic stop in a campus parking lot shortly after 12:15 p.m. was shot by someone who wasn't involved in the traffic stop, police said at a news conference. The shooter allegedly walked up to the officer's vehicle and opened fire, police said.

[Updated 5:11 p.m. ET] Describing the death of the second person, authorities at a news conference said a police officer investigating the slain officer's death saw a "suspicious person" alive in a campus parking lot, and when the officer circled back the approach that person - a white male - he was dead from a gunshot wound.

Police declined to say whether that person shot himself, but a Virginia State Police spokesman told reporters that police did not shoot him.

The state police spokesman wouldn't comment on whether the second deceased person had been the person who killed the police officer. He declined to say whether investigators still are looking for a shooter, but investigators feel "confident we located the person."

"You can kind of read between the lines," he said.

The school's website noted that a weapon had been discovered near the second person - described as an "unknown male subject who was found deceased in a parking lot near the Duck Pond."

The school has said there is no longer a threat on campus, and that people could resume normal activities on campus.

[Updated 4:37 p.m. ET] A weapon was found at the location of the body of a second person killed on the campus, Virginia Tech says. That person, a male, was found in a parking lot, the school said.

[Updated 4:34 p.m. ET] Police have determined "there is no longer an active threat or need to secure in place," Virginia Tech has said on its Twitter feed.

The posting told students and staff they could now "resume normal activities."

[Updated 3:48 p.m. ET] Several Virginia Tech administrators - including the head of campus police, Wendell Flinchum, and emergency management director Michael Mulhare - were in Washington Thursday at a federal court hearing on the 2007 shooting on the school's campus, U.S. Department of Education officials said, according to CNN's Sally Holland.

Flinchum and the school were criticized after that incident for not notifying students quickly enough that there was a danger on campus. The hearing was an appeal of the Department of Education's fine of $55,000 to Virginia Tech under the Clery Act, a federal law related to campus safety.

In April, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli called the case against Virginia Tech "Monday-morning quarterbacking at its very worst."

[Updated 3:45 p.m. ET] In a message on its website, the university knocked down what it called "unfounded" reports of additional gunshots reported heard since the original shooting, saying "there are no new substantiated reports of suspicious or criminal activity."

[Updated 3:07 p.m. ET] Students' final exams that were scheduled for Friday have been postponed, Virginia Tech said on its website. Friday would have been the first day of final exams for the semester.

"A decision regarding the final exam schedule will be made as soon as we have more information," the message said.

[Updated 2:46 p.m. ET] Tauhid Chappell, a student on campus, told CNN that he and other students were getting information through the school alert system, and through the web and radio.

Things felt "very quiet and still," he said. Classes for the semester ended Wednesday. Students were preparing Thursday for final exams.

[Updated 2:45 p.m. ET] A university spokesman says police have a description of a suspect and are searching “absolutely everywhere for the person who matches the description."

The campus is on lockdown, and people on campus are urged to "shelter in place," the spokesman said. The university is urging that no one visit campus, he said.

[Updated 2:10 p.m. ET] Six agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are at Virginia Tech to help with the response to Thursday's shooting, ATF spokesman Scot Thomasson said, according to CNN's Carol Cratty. Twenty additional agents are on standby, he added.

"The agents are very familiar with the campus and the buildings" because they have worked with Blacksburg police since the 2007 mass shooting on campus, Thomasson said.

[Updated 2:07 p.m. ET] The staff of the Collegiate Times newspaper has been evacuated from its offices in the Squires Student Center on the Virginia Tech campus, the paper's Twitter feed reports.

[Updated 1:56 p.m. ET] A Virginia Tech police officer has been shot and killed after making a traffic stop on the university's campus, Mark Owczarski, the university's director of news and information, said Thursday.

The suspect fled on foot toward another parking lot where a second person was also found dead, he said.

The shooter is still at large, he said.

[Updated 1:39 p.m. ET] Sirens were heard around the Virginia Tech campus Thursday, and rescue workers were trying to resuscitate a person who was on the ground, school employee Brian Walls told CNN. The school was on lockdown after shots were reported, and the school's website said a police officer was shot.

Follow the incident via the Twitter feed of the school's newspaper, the Collegiate Times. These reports have not been confirmed by CNN.

[Updated 1:16 p.m. ET] A police officer has been shot on or near the campus of Virginia Tech, the university's website says. A possible second victim is reported down in a parking lot and the suspect is at large, the website says.

Classes for the semester ended Wednesday. Students were preparing Thursday for final exams.

[Posted 1:01 p.m. ET] The campus of Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg is on lockdown after a report of shots being fired on the campus.

The suspected shooter is described as a white male wearing gray sweat pants, a gray hat with a neon green brim and a maroon hoodie and carrying a backpack, according to the university's website.

Those on campus should seek shelter or stay where they are, the website says.

In April 2007, Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old Virginia Tech student, shot dead 32 people on the campus before killing himself.

Are you on campus? Share your story, but please stay out of harm's way.

soundoff (1,084 Responses)
  1. edson

    chris is an ass

    December 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ComSenseWiz

      Chances my kids would go to Virginia Tech? Only at gunpoint (pun intended).

      December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. garc

    Gun nuts, go on and say, "This stuff wouldn't happen if everyone had guns." Wait–the cop HAD a gun. Guns don't kill people; bullets kill people...?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • ryan

      since when does a cop having a gun equal everyone having a gun?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • NyteShayde

      No, bullets don't kill people. People pulling triggers of guns properly loaded and aimed at people kill people, and if it hadn't been a gun it would have been something else if he were motivated enough. If you outlaw guns, it doesn't remove the guns from the street. It only removes them from law abiding citizens. Stop being stupid.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Answer

      People kill people. Guns may help people defend themselves. The possibility that people can have guns will deter others from using theirs unlawfully. Of course, you can't cure crazy. But why limit others ability to defend themselves in such a reasonable manner as having a sidearm.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • FatSean

      After? They haven't found the shooter, you can't say it is over!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • FatSean

      Guns let you kill from a safe distance. Remember the DC sniper?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • ChurchBrimmer

      No, neither bullets or guns kill people, people kill people. The gun is just a tool

      December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Any Russian You Ask

    We don't have these problems in our schools. Could it be our stricter gun control that we are all ok with? Probably.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dewed

      "We don't have these problems in our schools."

      I presume you're Russian. My response is thus: Beslan. There, you just lost the argument.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kris

      Most violent crimes involving the use of firearms are with illegally obtained firearms. Stricter control doesn't accomplish anything.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      No, the problems with your schools are even worse......

      December 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Any Russian You Ask

      "I presume you're Russian. My response is thus: Beslan. There, you just lost the argument."
      Breslan was a terrorist attack by Chechan Islamic militants, not our own people.

      "No, the problems with your schools are even worse......"
      Off topic but I'll bite... I studied in the U.S. for 2 years. I felt like I was bumped back 4 years. It was pathetic. Get over your pride Twitzy and admit your curriculum is behind the curve internationally. Others have.

      Not trying to start WW3 and obviously Russia has it's own problems, just making a point that in general gun violence is very low in our country. Perhaps studying the reasons behind that could be beneficial to the U.S.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GodOfHellfire

    The LORD is distraught at the rampant miscegenation occurring on this campus. For this, He has smote members of the community.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Aezel

      Unoriginal troll is unoriginal.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      I "seeded" Aezel with HIV.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      An obvious troll. Real Christians would never refer to themselves as a God of Hellfire.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paulo

    I know, I know, if all of the student had conceled carry permits and carried a weapon at all times, this would not happen. But wait – the first victim was an armed police officer. HMMMMMM.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dewed

      Your clever argument has swayed me. Guns can't possibly help. So I suppose you'll be the first to advocate police be disarmed?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moonshine7102

      And there would not have been a second victim if there had been a lawfully-armed bystander.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Penns Woods

    Too bad for this to happen at VT. What is particularly sad is that a Police Officer has apparently lost his life during a traffic stop and the perp escaped. This shows the danger that a Police Officer faces everyday during a traffic stop. Prayers to both victims family and God Speed the Police in finding the perpetrator.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. John

    Why is some Apple nonsense the top story instead of this? CNN has twisted priorities.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jess

      Agreed! Who gives a rat's tail about Apple (on any given day, IMHO) and the usual money woes when a gunman is running around on a college campus?!?!
      Guess we all know who owns CNN...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jason

    this is just a taste of what will happen to cops if the course of our country isnt turned around by Ron Paul

    December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • twirtzy

      I hope you didn't think that comment would win votes for Ron Paul. Most likely, just the opposite.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • MoeL

      Jason...you are one sick S.O.B. What is wrong with you? Are you actually saying that the policeman/woman deserved to die? You are totally a sick individual.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. karmaMan

    it is NOT a "shelter-in-place" it is a LOCK DOWN!!!...Emergency Managers, get it right!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • NyteShayde

      Read the entire article.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. edson

    i dont care

    December 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jimmy Jazz

    The perp was probably driven mad by Christmas muzak in the office...

    December 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Alan

    Statistics show that more guns = less crime. What is taking our colleges and universities so long to wake up to this fact. It appears that there were less people shot than when it happened at the same school than there were the last time. Licensed carry would go a long way to reduce these small violent outbreaks in every part of our lives.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leslie

      The police officer had a gun and knew how to use it. Obviously, your theory doesn't really hold water.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gabby

      Really? Then we should be the safest country in the world! We have the highest amount of gun ownership and we also have extremely high crime rates.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • NyteShayde

      Oh look, the sisters of logical fallacy and irrational correlation have arrived!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kristina

      Have any of you ever stopped to think that the officer might have been caught off guard, or the gun been fired on him before he was ABLE to defend himself? It happens to officers sometimes, so don't blame him for not doing his job correctly. It has nothing to do with whether or not he was carrying, or whether him carrying would have solved the problem or not. The fact is – he was killed, undeserving, and there is a crazy man roaming the streets. If you were the officer in the same situation, I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have ended up with a better result. Prayers to the families of the victims. Let's focus on the real issues and stop arguing about CC – it's not important right now.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. amber

    this is way i dont watch the news i dont like think of this stuff

    December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • NyteShayde

      I'm betting you don't like to think much at all. As you were.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Shirley

    God Bless you all at Virginia Tech. We are watching this ordeal unfold with extremely heavy hearts. May you all know that you are loved.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. jason

    if they would allow guns on campus students would be able to protect themselves and no one would have died except for the gunman

    December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Leslie

      Except for the police officer, who got shot point blank, you mean?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      i agree 100%. in fact, if everyone in the school had guns, the gunman never would have opened fire in a school. schools are easy targets because they are filled with potential victims, and none of these victims are armed.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
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